In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the Obama administration seeks to implement stringent restrictions on semi-automatic assault rifles. It's likely the administration will face a battle with proponents of the National Rifle Association.
Vice President Joe Biden will get a taste of what may be in store when he meets with the NRA and other gun advocacy groups tomorrow, according to Yahoo! News. Biden will also meet with representatives of the entertainment and video-game industry.
Earlier Wednesday, he met with representatives of several gun control advocacy groups, including: The Brady Campaign To End Gun Violence, gun control advocacy groups from several states where incidences involving gun violence garnered media attention; including the tragedy in Arizona that involved the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the article noted.
Two survivors of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, where 32 people died, along with the stepfather of a victim killed in last July's massacre inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and Attorney General Eric Holder rounded out the participants.
In the meeting, Biden said time isn't going to be wasted, the article reported.
"I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion (that) unless we can do everything we're going to do nothing," Biden said. "It's critically important (that) we act."
Biden is expected to deliver policy proposals by the end of January. Obama has said he will act swiftly regarding the package, which will also likely include executive action and legislative proposals.
Biden's task force is also examining possibly reinstating the 1994 federal ban on military-style assault weapons, according to The Guardian. When the ban was implemented, a ten-year time limit had to be added in order for it to pass through Congress. The ban expired in 2004, and sadly, was not renewed.
How many innocent people have died because of this?
If the ban is reintroduced, new sales of a variety of AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles would not be allowed. In the hopes of lessening the impact of another bloody rampage, magazines for these weapons would be limited to 10 rounds, the article notes. Adam Lanza, armed with a Bushmaster Semi-automatic rifle, murdered 20 first-graders and six adults in less than 10 minutes.
Gun advocates say that it's their right to own these guns under the Second Amendment. Didn't the children of Sandy Hook also have a right to grow up? Didn't the people at the theater in Aurora, Colorado, have the right to enjoy a movie without the terrible fright that ended their lives? Yes, these guns are used for protection, but they are also used to terrorize and kill innocent people all around the world.
There's nothing wrong with wanting a gun for protection, but semi-automatic assault weapons go over the line. Gun enthusiasts say that they want these for that day in the future when the government becomes the enemy. Do these people ever stop to realize that if the government is going to do this, it will use highly sophisticated weapons that are much deadlier?
These people would be mere gnats in the face of a black widow spider.
Meanwhile, more people keep purchasing these weapons, making it likely that another Sandy Hook will happen.
Fortunately, Biden is researching other ideas.
- According to the article in the Guardian, the task force is studying proposals that would reinforce federal monitoring and strengthen background checks on all gun sales. As it stands right now, the system is pockmarked with loopholes. A person who purchases a gun through an authorized dealer has to go through a federal background check. Not so, however, if a person purchases a gun through a private seller via the internet, or through a gun show. The task force is considering ways to close the private-seller loophole. Gun control advocacy groups have been pushing for this for a long time, the article notes.
- Modernizing tracking systems that are notoriously slipshod. These systems are used to record and monitor the movement of weapons, in the hopes of keeping them out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, according to the article. However, some of these systems have gaping holes. One database operated by the FBI is gap-ridden. Some states, like New York, have contributed more than 100,000 names to the database, while other states have offered less than 100. Even worse, Rhode Island hasn't entered any names. Currently, the task force is reviewing a proposal that would utilize a modern and comprehensive database that would track the movement of guns through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Obama undoubtedly knows that the NRA will put up stiff opposition to any restrictions he implements. The NRA's influence on the House and the Senate is immense.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has already said that the issue of gun legislation will take a backseat to the country's debt problems, according to Yahoo! News.
It's understandable that McConnell might feel this way. After all, he has received more than $26,000 from the NRA since 1990, according to this article. Admittedly, this amount is a mere drop in the thimble.
Consider this information, provided by Lee Drutman, a Senior Fellow at the Sunlight Foundation:
"Of the 435 members of the new House, 205 - or 47 percent - received some money from the NRA during the last campaign. More than half have taken NRA money at some point in their career. Of the Senate's 100 members, 42 received contributions this past cycle and exactly half have received contributions at some point in their career. All told, 88 percent of Republicans now in Congress have received a contribution from the NRA at some point in their career, as have 11 percent of Democrats."
During the Presidential election, the NRA funneled $13.1 million into the Presidential election, the foundation notes. It's clear that Obama and Biden will have their work cut out for them. Hopefully, they're up to the task.